Angela Santone, EVP and head of HR for Turner, sent a memo today to employees, according to a Turner insider. The memo outlined the opportunity for workers 55 years old and older with 10 or more years of service as of the end of 2019. Workers who accept the voluntary offer will receive four weeks’ pay for every year of service, up to a limit of two years’ pay.
WarnerMedia declined to comment when contacted by Deadline.
Turner is undergoing significant changes under a reshuffling announced last month by CEO John Stankey. The makeover began in earnest once the federal government lost its appeal of a lawsuit challenging AT&T’s $81 billion takeover of Time Warner. While the deal was permitted to officially close last June by a federal judge, who rejected the Department of Justice lawsuit, the appeals process restrained the company from operating as a fully merged entity.
Under the terms of a settlement with the DOJ, Turner remained in a silo pending the outcome of the appeal. That eight-month delay created a bottleneck, a series of announcements has been flooding out almost daily about comings and goings. In recent weeks, Turner boss David Levy, a 32-year company veteran, said he was stepping down, and the company put CNN chief Jeff Zucker in charge of Turner as well as CNN. Richard Plepler and two senior executives have left the fold at HBO, and those exits are unlikely to be the last as changes continue to take full effect.
John Stephens, CFO of AT&T, told a Wall Street investor conference last month that the parent company would seek to shield WarnerMedia from “a finance bean-counter from a telephone company.” At the same time, AT&T still has billions in debt from the Time Warner deal it is looking to pay down, as it also looks to hit announced targets of $1.5 billion in cost savings and $1 billion in synergies. Many operations in areas like distribution and marketing at Turner and HBO have been consolidated. Part of the Turner network portfolio, including Cartoon Network and Adult Swim, shifted to Warner Bros. control in the reorg., putting a greater emphasis on CNN, TNT and TBS as Turner’s main profit centers.
The Wall Street Journal had the first report on the Turner buyouts.
Here is the full text of Santone’s internal memo:
Recently, John Stankey shared his new organizational structure and strategic priorities for WarnerMedia. This is a very important and historic time for our company. As the industry evolves, our focus is to ensure we continue to be as successful in the future as we have been in the past. Across the company, we are identifying opportunities for savings to drive growth and profitability.
As part of these efforts, we have decided to offer a Voluntary Separation Program to regular status U.S. Turner employees who are at least age 55 and have 10 or more years of service as of December 31, 2019, excluding on-air talent and union employees.
Today, employees meeting these eligibility requirements will receive a confidential, personalized email detailing the program, its benefits, and deadlines for acceptance, which is strictly voluntary.
We know this is an important decision for those who are eligible to participate. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact your HR Representative.